In my earlier posts, I have outlined why it is important to set short-term, medium-term and long-term goals for your personal life. In this post, I will expand on specific examples of good medium-term goals (otherwise called mid-term gaols) and explain why setting medium-term & long-term goals is important.
I realized early on that most of the life goals that I set were short-term goals, meaning that they could be achieved in a few months.
However, I have realized that it’s really important to think beyond a few months to set goals for the medium-term (meaning about 1-5 years out). Long term goals are for 10 years and beyond.
Why Medium-Term / Mid-Term Goals are Important
The reason it is important to set medium-term goals (as well as long-term goals) is that a lot of things take longer than just a few months to accomplish. For example, a career change will require training, networking with new people or completing a certificate to help with the transition (or even getting a new degree). These are very important changes to your life and you need to plan ahead. Often, more than just 1 year ahead of time.
If you want to pay off your house early, save for a down payment or pay for your children to get an education, you will also need to plan this several years ahead of time. So let’s review good examples of mid-term goals.
The things that we want don’t just happen because we hope that they will. It takes hard work and planning to make your dreams a reality.
Example Medium-Term Goals
The following medium-term goals are likely to take more than several months to achieve. Most likely they will take several years.
Mid-Term Career goals:
- Finish a bachelor’s or master’s degree
- Change career / company
- Get a promotion
- Start a side business, or a new business
Mid-Term Life goals:
- Move to the city of your dreams
- Take your dream vacation
- Learn a new hobby that requires a medium-term or long-term commitment (playing the piano, running for a half-marathon, learning woodworking, etc).
Mid-Term Family goals:
- Find a partner
- Start a family
- Have another baby
- Meet with family members more regularly (this one will have to wait post pandemic…)
Mid-Term Financial goals:
- Pay off debt
- Purchase a house
- Save $XXXX
- Create an emergency fund (6-month of living expenses)
All of these goals are realistic to achieve in a time frame of approximately 1 to 5 years.
How Can You Come Up with the Right Medium-Term Goals?
There is a very simple technique to get started. It works on all kinds of goals but you can set yourself a specific time-frame to come up with medium term goals. Ask yourself,“What do I want my life to look like in X months/years?”. For mid-term goals, simply ask yourself, “What do I want my life to look like in 1-5 years?”. What would make you happy? Discovering the world, learning a new fun hobby, move house, move city, get a more exciting career? These are all fun things to think about that will require (most of the time) more than just a few months of planning.
But Setting Goals Isn’t Enough
To really make your goals happen, you need to figure out what steps need to happen for you to accomplish those goals.
To get the right goals, it is important to WRITE THEM DOWN! Most people (including me!) prefer to day dream. However, a lot of research shows that writing your goals significantly increases your changes of achieving them. For example, a study on fitness by the Journal of Health Psychology examined how concrete plans would change exercise participation (2). The participation rate of people who did not write down a specific plan was only 30% but it increased dramatically to 90% for people who had written down their plan! (Learn more).
This is simply because writing down your goals forces you to really think about the right goals, and forces you to set an objective (not just day-dream about it).
Just saying that your goal is to pay for your children to get an education won’t necessarily make it a reality: you need to determine how much exactly you want to save, and then break that up into a monthly or yearly savings goal.
If you want to get a new job and change careers, figure out first what books, training, certificate or degree will get you there. Create a schedule for how you will take classes that you need to be ready for your new career.
The “Smart” Goal Format Also Work for Medium Term Goals
Simply follow these recommendations to set “Smart” goals. Smart goals are widely recognized as being the best goals to set as they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.
Learn more how setting short-term, medium-term and long-term goals.
View my best posts on setting goals.